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Black is the New Green

Black is the New Green

The fashion industry has always aimed to be on the forefront of color trends. The recent move by many large fashion retailers, including Nordstrom, to replace clear plastic clothes hangers with more sustainable matte black hangers shows how our industry also strives to "green" our operations by being more environmentally responsible.

So, why black hangers?

It's a statistic most shoppers probably never think about: Nordstrom uses approximately 40 million hangers a year in the women's apparel departments in our full-line stores. Up until last year, these hangers were made out of clear plastic. In the fall, we began transitioning to the new industry standard matte black hangers as part of our commitment to environmental responsibility.

It might seem like a subtle difference to switch from clear to black hangers, but this change is actually really important. By making this change we’re doing the right thing to further reduce Nordstrom’s impact on the environment. - Sherene Huntzinger, Nordstrom supply chain strategy

"It might seem like a subtle difference to switch from clear to black hangers, but this change is actually really important," says Sherene Huntzinger, vice president of supply chain strategy for Nordstrom. "By making this change we're doing the right thing to further reduce Nordstrom's impact on the environment."

Matte black hangers are more sustainable because they are made with recycled resins and plastic, unlike clear hangers that use new petroleum-based resins. Moreover, black hangers can be re-used more often than clear hangers because they are less susceptible to scratches and discoloration.

"This change has so many benefits that will result in a positive long-term impact," said Sherene. "We expect to see cost savings as well as environmental benefits."

Where you'll see them

The new matte black hangers will be used in most women's and kids' departments in our Full-line stores including Women's Apparel, Active, BP and Big Kids. Intimate Apparel and Nordstrom Online will continue to use vendor-inserted hangers (some black and others clear). Nordstrom Rack will continue using a mix of clear and black hangers because, which allows us the opportunity to continue depleting our existing supply of clear hangers.

Nordstrom initiated this change as a result of our membership in the Voluntary Industry Commerce Solutions Association (VICS), a group that focuses on supply chain efficiencies. According to VICS, retailers globally are moving toward black hangers; they are already used almost exclusively in Europe.

"We are proud to be part of this industry-wide initiative to use our natural resources more efficiently," said Sherene. "When it comes to hangers that are better for the environment, black is definitely the new green."

Black is the New Green

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